6 Easy Ways to Make Your House More Eco-Friendly
The phrase eco-friendly homes might sound as if it’s just a fad, but making your home eco-friendly cuts carbon emissions reduces waste and lowers energy bills, an essential part of government policy in the UK. But did you know that ‘eco-friendly’ can also add value to your property? While estimates differ between property professionals, one study in the USA revealed that eco-friendly homes sell for an average of 23% more than conventional homes. What does this mean? Well, it’s in your best interests to make your home more environmentally friendly.
There are dozens of measures you can take to make your home more eco-friendly than it already is. But if you want to make changes that will have an impact on your property’s value, these six should be at the top of your list.
1. Install a garden irrigation system
When watering your garden with a hose, you’re using up to 1000 litres of water every hour depleting precious resources, but it also leaves a major carbon footprint. The processes required for drinking water involve large amounts of electricity, which results in carbon emissions. Instead of using a hose to water your lawn and plants, install a water butt to catch rainwater. You can find a butt, a pump and a rainwater diverter pretty cheaply in most large hardware stores.
2. Insulate cavity walls
If you have cavity walls, you should know that up to 35 percent of heat loss in your home occurs through them. But you can drastically slow down the process of heat loss by having insulating foam pumped into walls via small holes drilled from outside. This job can be expensive, but it usually pays for itself within a few years — in the form of substantially reduced energy bills.
3. Harness energy from the sun
Depending on exactly where your home is, you might have the chance to drastically reduce reliance on fossil fuels through harnessing the sun’s energy. And in doing so, you could slash your annual electricity bill. Solar panels fit onto sloping roofs of between 30 and 45 degrees. Although the panels must be facing south to be fully active, almost any home can benefit from solar power. What’s more, you can get paid for any electricity you supply to the National Grid.
4. Stop draughts
Older homes, in particular, are susceptible to draughts and air leakage. The areas most vulnerable are chimney breasts, around windows and doors and floors. Whether it’s natural ‘wear and tear’ or poor workmanship, it is important to plug these gaps correctly. A building pressurisation test will tell you exactly how bad your draught problem is, as well as the location of any significant leakages. Identify the sources of air leakage, and you can arrange for repairs or other, low-tech solutions. Other places to check for draughts include hatches, vents and electrical outlets.
5. Install loft insulation is an essential eco-friendly home improvement
Most eco-friendly homes will have some loft insulation. An enormous amount of heat in a home is lost through the roof; this happens because heat always rises above colder air. You can slow down this process by thoroughly insulating the base of your loft. This relatively quick task costs between £250 and £350, but it can provide a lifetime of energy savings and lower utility bills.
6. Upgrade your windows
Windows are usually a major source of heat loss in any home. Not only does heat transfer through glass relatively quickly, but even the slightest of gaps in the window or the surrounding frame and brickwork can also lead to problems. By fitting double-glazed windows, you’re creating a layer of air that acts as an insulator. And you can further reduce heat loss by paying a little extra for storm windows, which are fitted with weather-stripping, caulking and a glass coating to slow down heat loss even further.
Most of the changes you can do to make your home more eco-friendly will not cost the earth, but together, they could increase your property’s market value considerably.